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Wednesday, November 28, 2001

Odd Jobs

I keep in my dresser drawer an odd collection of doo-dads I can't seem to throw out: rolls of undeveloped film from 10 years ago (could be something interesting on them), a cat license tag (you wouldn't want to be found guilty of operating a cat without a license) and my pizza delivery guy name tag from the job I had the summer after high school and before college.

The tag doesn't have my name on it. It reads "El Bastardo." Peel that name away and you'll find "Cindy." And so on. I used lots of aliases at that job.

The place I worked for served a town called "Flatwoods," whose claim to fame is that's where Billy Ray Cyrus is from--the guy who sang "Achy Breaky Heart" in the early 90s. Note that the mullet haircut is also known as "The Achy Breaky Mistakey."

Anyway, I wanted lots of hours, so that meant I'd work the least popular schedule--from around 6 p.m. to 2 a.m.--especially on weekends.

Weekends were tough. Customers had been at their own jobs all week, workin' for "the man," taking crap from people, and the weekend was their turn to dish it out. They'd call drunk. They'd swear. They'd complain the pizza you just delivered had too many toppings on it. They'd want specials they'd seen on TV ads that quit running years ago. One guy, a well-paid lawyer, thought our prices were too high, so he'd order a plain cheese pizza and add his own toppings.

By far the most challenging aspect of the job was delivering to the boonies. You knew when you were in trouble when someone described their address as, "There ain't no street sign up, and we don't got no number on the house."

This was back when pizza places were still running their delivery in under 30 minutes guarantee. People really hold you to that, so we had to drive pretty fast. The restaurant's car was an early 80s Chevette with one turn signal out, it always smelled like cheese and yeast (an old, dank funky smell) and the lights worked only on bright. Other people honked and gave me the finger because of the blinding lights, but I couldn't help it.

Most of the delivery guys had stories about attractive women coming to the door naked, but I never saw any. Either the guys were lying or the women saw me coming and thought, "No tip for this guy." I'm going with option one.

Because I worked the late shift, I got to close the place, and that consisted of using the DustBuster to vacuum up the dead bugs from below our neon sign in the window, mopping the floor (generally a half-assed job, because the manager wanted to get the hell out of there) and washing the food prep stuff by hand.

The whole time I worked there, the men's room never had any soap. I always washed my hands at the kitchen sink, but I wonder how many other guys didn't. Must have given the pizzas the taste of a different kind of pepperoni.

What odd jobs have you had?








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